Part 4 – Chuck Wendig’s 200 word comp.
Added 200 words after Emmy Jackson’s story, Andrew Linder’s and Michael Woods.
“Casey’s Jersey City crew got careless,” Says Bossman. “Zombies flooded three sites. Two held them back but we blew the third. Horde made it up four flights and we couldn’t risk it. All told, probably lost fifty people.”
Bossman looks at me, gin blossoms reddening. The skin around his eyes draws tight, his hands, resting on the desk between us, clench, unclench. “Go find Casey. You ask him how he nearly lost three buildings. Then, once he answers, you make certain it doesn’t happen again.”
“Yes, sir,” I say.
Boss nods, quick, but the tears never leave his eyes. I turn and make for the stairs. How do I make fifty deaths count for something? These weren’t soldiers or made-men. These were men, women, and children, each under the protection of the Poverelli family. Fifty dead. And I gotta go make it fifty-one.
Name’s Blaylock, but everybody calls me Block. The name suits me. I’m muscle for the Family. It’s my job to make sure none of these mooks foul up and let the dead run riot over our rooftop paradise.
Here, it ain’t the zombies on the streets you gotta worry about. It’s the guy beside ya still breathing.
I only knock once ‘cause I’m a little pissed. I’m standing just outside the door to Casey’s office, gun in hand. Behind me there’s a little crowd of civilians gathering. They’re all lookin’ mean at me—probably because they’re a little fed up with the administration at this point. They’rea ll quiet-like though, ‘cause I was sent by Bossman himself and they knowed it.
It took a while to get to Casey’s place, what with the big, still smoking ruins of the building he lost in the way. Before the screw-up I coulda walked straight over. The buildings had been like a row of teeth, albeit crooked and rotting. But, one of ‘em had got knocked out, so I had to schlep it ‘cross the gap on the ground, which was dangerous.
That was a stressful trip. I am stressed.
So, I only knock once. Then I open the door, see Casey still getting’ outa his chair, and say to him, “Casey.”
“I…I can explain,” he says, but his face says he can’t, so I shoot him before he can bullshit me. His head pops like a soda can that somebody shook up and dropped.
I turn around and hear one of the civvies, actually a soldier I guess, since he’s pointing a gun at me, say, “We’re sick of the Family’s shit.”
I see that they’re all pointing guns at me and frown. I musta underestimated how angry they was.
I ain’t afraid facin’ down twenty guns any more than I am one, but I ain’t stupid, either, so I shrug and put my gun on the desk. “So now what?” I ask. The soldier steps forward with his gun leading the way and as soon as he gets close enough I sweep my arm up fast, snatch his gun right out of his hand, and I pop him under the jaw with my other fist. He goes down like a busted puppet and I put his gun on the desk nexta mine. “Anybody else?” I ask.
There are still a dozen guns pointed at me, but nobody’s shooting so I figure they’ve got something else in mind. A woman with a bandage on her eyebrow motions with her shotgun and spits, “Blaine wants to talk to you.”
The only Blaine I know’s a stupid albino mook with delusions of grandeur, not worth taking seriously, so I shrug like I don’t give a shit and let the crowd of civvies lead me back out of the office, down to the basement. We leave the soldier there in Casey’s office.
The voice is as damp as the cracked walls. “Hey, Block.”
So shit catches up with me anyway. There’s a gun against me neck.
“Make it quick!” I say.
“I won’t kill you unless you move,” Blaine says, his throat still gurgling like he ate a toad.
“I meant keep it short,” I say, turning slowly to face him while his brain kinda musters some bull deal, shadows of the dead shifting in the distance, closing in on us.
“One more move,” Blaine repeats “and I pop your insides like breathtaking pyrotechnics.”
Too bad, I kick him fast in the balls, grab his gun and do him, his creamy, meconium filled albino blood spilling and spreading like spinach sauce on melted cheese. Anybody else? I ask again. White, blank faces stare, the sons and daughters of the mutant I just fixed, some turning their attention to the menacing Zombies, ready to blow ‘em up, bold, drooling.
“You’re outnumbered and we’ve a deal,” one daughter says, “best fodder, better than your good quality stuff.”
“Food?” I ask, “speak or die,” I grant her.
“Gives you superpowers,” she says, nervous, “extract zombies’ bone marrow, cleanse it of bone debris and you get eternal life.”
There’s a reason why Blaine’s throat had been gurgling.